Nashville Regional Conference

The Therapeutic Relationship is Your Most Powerful Tool (& Biggest Pitfall): Relational Strategies to Treat Challenging Trauma Clients

September 11-12, 2020 | 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown

We are excited to announce our 2020 Regional Conference in Nashville, TN! Join ISSTD for this two-day conference featuring presentations by Dr. Robert T Muller discussing how the therapeutic relationship is fundamental to trauma treatment and is intended to be highly practical.

Daily Schedule
8:00am-9:00am                 Registration & Light Continental Breakfast
9:00am-10:30am               Workshop
10:30am-11:00am             AM Beverage Break
11:00am-12:30pm             Workshop
12:30pm-1:30pm               Lunch 
1:30pm-3:00pm                 Workshop
3:00pm-3:30pm                 PM Beverage Break
3:30pm-5:00pm                 Workshop

Registration Details

Early Bird Registration ends August 10, 2020!

Student registrations are reviewed and accepted upon approval. Student registrants must provide proof of current status in a related field and must submit verification by email or fax. Discounts for Emerging Professionals (first three years after licensure or graduation) are available, please email a copy of your license or degree to ISSTD HQ for discount codes. All registration fees listed are in US Dollars (USD).

Group rates are available for groups of five or more from the same hospital, facility, or university. Please email the ISSTD HQ for assistance with group rates.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing via email or fax. A processing fee of $45 will be charged for cancellations received on or before September 1, 2020 at 5:00 PM ET. No refunds will be issued for no-shows. Refund requests will not be accepted after September 1, 2020. Not all requests will be granted. Substitutions for attendees are accepted at any time.

Registration Contact Information
Phone: 844.994.7783
Fax: 888.966.0310


Meet our Speaker!

Robert T. Muller, PhD trained at Harvard, was on faculty at the University of Massachusetts, and is currently at York University in Toronto. Dr. Muller is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) for his work on trauma treatment. His recently-released “Trauma & the Struggle to Open Up” was awarded the 2019 ISSTD award for year’s best written work on trauma. And his award-winning bestseller, “Trauma & the Avoidant Client” has been translated widely. As lead investigator on several multi-site programs to treat interpersonal trauma, Dr. Muller has lectured internationally (Australia, UK, Europe, USA), and has been keynote speaker at mental health conferences in New Zealand and Canada. He founded an online magazine, “The Trauma & Mental Health Report,” that is now visited by over 100,000 readers a year. With over 25 years in the field, he practices in Toronto.



This practical two-day workshop, led by Dr. Robert T. Muller, a leading expert on trauma therapy and globally acclaimed author of the psychotherapy bestseller, Trauma & the Avoidant Client, is aimed at building our understanding of the psychotherapeutic relationship with challenging trauma clients.

As therapists, while we try to maintain a strong therapeutic relationship, in practice this is easier said than done.  Trauma clients struggle to trust the therapist: Many minimize their own traumatic experiences or become help-rejecting.  Others rush into the work, seeking a “quick fix“, despite a long history of interpersonal trauma.

Drawing upon attachment theory and research, and upon a wealth of clinical experience.  Dr. Muller illustrates how to work with such hard-to-treat clients, how to find points of entry and ways to make contact.  Using a relational, psychodynamic approach, we explore strategies for developing the therapeutic relationship, to help the client regain a sense of trust in others. We look at therapeutic techniques through which the client is encouraged to take interpersonal risks, to mourn losses, and to face vulnerabilities. Dr. Muller follows the ups and downs of the therapy relationship with trauma survivors and specifically looks at: 

  • How do we tell when we’ve unknowingly compromised safety in the relationship?
  • What happens to the relationship when clients or therapists rush into the process, and how can this be addressed?
  • And how can subtle conflicts in the relationship become useful in treatment?

We also explore different choices therapists make in navigating the relationship -choices that often have a strong impact on outcome.  Recovery from trauma is a complicated process. When clients reveal too much, too soon, they may feel worse -making the pacing of therapy critical. Here too, the key is in the therapist-client relationship.  Dr. Muller walks us through the relational approaches that help pace the process of opening up -so that clients find the experience helpful, not harmful.

Throughout the workshop, theory is complemented by case examples, practical exercises, and segments from Dr. Muller’s own treatment sessions.  The workshop focuses on clinical skills that are directly applicable in our work as therapists.

Learning Objectives

The workshop helps practitioners using different therapeutic modalities to integrate attachment-based approaches with their existing skills, which they can then apply in their work.

At the conclusion of this training participant will be able to:

  • Discuss how to help clients pace the process of opening up
  • Implement safety in the therapeutic relationship early on
  • Navigate and use conflicts in the relationship
  • Recognize their own (therapist’s) feelings in the therapeutic process (e.g. the wish to rush into trauma work, or the wish to avoid it)
  • Help clients mourn traumatic losses to bring post-traumatic growth

Potential to Stress

This workshop has a low potential to cause stress. No graphic trauma details will be described, however some case histories could be triggering to anyone with unresolved trauma.

Continuing Education Credits

American Psychological Association (Pending approval)

CE Learning Systems, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CE Learning Systems maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Explore Nashville

Nicknamed “Music City, U.S.A.”, Nashville is the home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and many major record labels. Since much earlier times it has been called the “Athens of the South”, for its educational institutions and classical architecture. Nashville is also a major hub for the health care and publishing industries.

Nashville lies on the Cumberland River in the northwestern portion of the Nashville Basin. The population of the entire 13-county Nashville metropolitan area is 1,311,789, making it the most populous metropolitan area in the state.

Much of the city’s cultural life has revolved around its large university community. Particularly significant in this respect were two groups of critics and writers who were associated with Vanderbilt University in the early twentieth century, the Fugitives and the Agrarians.

Many popular tourist sites involve country music, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Ryman Auditorium, which was for many years the site of the Grand Ole Opry. Each year, the Country Music Association’s Fan Fair (renamed “CMA Music Festival” in 2003) brings many thousands of country fans to the city.

Other popular destinations include Fort Nashborough, a reconstruction of the original settlement; the Tennessee State Museum; and The Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The graceful State Capitol is one of the oldest working state capitol buildings in the nation, while The Hermitage is one of the older presidential homes open to the public. The Nashville Zoo is one of the city’s newer attractions.

Civil War history is also important to the city’s tourism industry. Sites pertaining to the Battle of Nashville and the nearby Battle of Franklin and Battle of Stones River can be seen, along with several well-preserved antebellum plantation houses such as Belle Meade Plantation and Belmont Mansion.

Nashville is also the home of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, where the Tennessee Repertory Theatre makes its home. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center is also home to the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Opera, and Nashville Ballet. The Nashville Symphony Orchestra will eventually move to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which is scheduled to be completed in 2007.

Nashville has several arts centers and museums, including the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, located in what was formerly the main post office; Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art; the Tennessee State Museum; Fisk University’s Van Vechten and Aaron Douglas Galleries; and The Parthenon.

Your Guide to Local Attractions from Visit Music City
For the Music Lover
Things to Do!

Venue & Travel

Conference Venue

Doubletree by Hilton Nashville Downtown

315 4th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37219
Phone: 615.244.8200

Conveniently located just steps from Lower Broadway and local attractions such as the Ryman Auditorium, Nissan Stadium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and Bridgestone Arena, our newly-renovated DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Nashville Downtown is the ideal place to stay when visiting ‘Music City’.

Located ten miles from Nashville International Airport, we offer dining options to satisfy every appetite. Enjoy a latte at the on-site Starbucks. The distinctive Fourth & U restaurant and bar serves an array of urban dining options using local products. Enjoy music from local musicians, and when the weather’s right, step out to the outdoor covered Patio 315, with large lawn games, fire pits and TVs, including a movie screen sized projection screen to watch games and events. Keep fit in the modern fitness center and indoor pool.

Travel – Air

Nashville International Airport

Address: 1 Terminal Dr, Nashville, TN 37214
Phone: 615.275.1675
Visit website

Travel Distance to Doubletree by Hilton Austin
Approximately 9.4 miles (16 minutes)

Transportation Options

  • Bus Service $1.70 USD
  • Rental Car Approximately $70.00 USD
  • Taxi $25.00 USD

Travel – Ground

Directions to Hotel from Nashville International Airport
Enter IH 35 North toward North Central Austin. Take the FM 2222 exit (238A). Move to the far right lane of the access road. After passing the Intersection of Hwy 290 E and IH-35, take the first right onto La Posada Dr. The hotel is located in Central Austin at the corner of La Posada Dr. and IH-35 North.

I-40 West, exit at Church Street/Charlotte Avenue exit. Make right at Charlotte Avenue. Turn right on 4th Avenue. Hotel two blocks up on the right at corner of 4th and Deaderick.

Distance from Hotel: 8 mi.
Drive Time: 15 min.

General Arrival Directions

From Memphis: Take I-40 east to Nashville. Exit at the Charlotte Ave/Downtown exit. Take a left at the light, continue on Charlotte until you reach 4th Ave. and then turn right. The DoubleTree is one block up on your right at 4th and Deaderick.

From the Chattanooga: Take I-24 west toward Nashville. Pick up I-40 west to Nashville. Take the Church St./Charlotte Ave. Exit. Go to the 3rd light and turn right. Continue on Charlotte until you reach 4th Ave. And then turn right. The DoubleTree will be one block up on the right at 4th and Deaderick.

From the North (Bowling Green): Take I-65 south to I-24 east to downtown. Exit at the James Robertson Parkway – State Capitol exit. Go right at the light, then straight to the 2nd light, which is 3rd Ave. Turn left. Go one block to the next light and turn right onto Deaderick. The DoubleTree will be one block up on the corner of 4th and Deaderick.

From the South (Birmingham): Take I-65 north toward Nashville and pick up I-40 west to Memphis. Exit at the Church St./Charlotte Ave exit. Go to 3rd light and turn right onto Charlotte Ave. Take to 4th Ave. and turn right. The DoubleTree will be one block up on your right at 4th and Deaderick.

Supporter and Exhibitor Opportunities

Discover New Connections in Nashville!

Our conference attendees represent the leading professionals in the world of trauma and dissociation. Our conferences allow for organizations to network with and promote your organization to attendees who have traveled from around the globe to be present. As a supporter or exhibitor, you will have the unique opportunity to tap into this esteemed network of professionals. Don’t miss out on this limited opportunity to connect one on one with psychologists, social workers, counselors and other mental health professionals who use and promote the products and services you have to offer!

ISSTD Organizational Membership Available Now!
ISSTD has launched a new Organizational Membership. This membership is open to treatment facilities, hospitals, multi-clinician practices, government organizations/agencies, and colleges/universities who specialize in the treatment of complex trauma and/or dissociation. Bronze, Silver and Gold memberships include exhibit and supporter opportunities in addition to membership. For more information on benefits and prices of the Organizational Membership with ISSTD, click here!

2020 Exhibit Pricing

Tabletop Exhibit BoothAdditional Registration
2020 Regional Only $400 $150
2020 Regional and 2020 Annual Conference $1,300 $350

Benefits include:

  • One six foot draped table, two chairs, and exhibitor tent card
  • Listing on Conference Website
  • Copy of Attendee Registration list with contact information
  • ONE complimentary registration to the conference (Additional exhibitor registrations can be purchased as noted above)

Exhibitor Add-Ons

  • Break Supporter
  • Lunch Supporter
  • Tote Bag Inserts

Contact Mary Pat Hanlin, Executive Director via email at for additional information or to develop a custom sponsor package today. Please view the Exhibitor/Supporter Prospectus below for more information. The prospectus has not been updated to include 2020 regional conferences, but all bundle pricing from 2019 is still valid.